Blood of Ambrose by James Enge
Behind the king's life stands the menacing Protector, and beyond him lies the Protector's Shadow...Centuries after the death of Uthar the Great, the throne of the Ontilian Empire lies vacant. The late emperor's brother-in-law and murderer, Lord Urdhven, appoints himself Protector to his nephew, young King Lathmar VII and sets out to kill anyone who stands between himself and mastery of the empire, including (if he can manage it) the king himself and his ancient but still formidable ancestress, Ambrosia Viviana. When Ambrosia is accused of witchcraft and put to trial by combat, she is forced to play her trump card and call on her brother, Morlock Ambrosius - stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk. As ministers of the king, they carry on the battle, magical and mundane, against the Protector and his shadowy patron. But all their struggles will be wasted unless the young king finds the strength to rule in his own right and his own name.
Sometime last year I read the third book in the Morlock Ambrosius series named “The Wolf Age”, and during the reading of it and afterwards I had this lingering feeling in the back of my mind that I really wanted to find out more about this interesting character of Morlock Ambrosius. I first thought that I was reading a third book in the series but soon found out that it was a stand-alone featuring the hero. There were a lot of aspects present in that book about Morlock’s past that kept me interested. Like how he became a maker, what it actually implies and what is Tyrfing? Now having finished Blood of Ambrose I learned a lot more about his character, and like “The Wolf Age” Blood of Ambrose also has its own story to tell and is from start to finish and well-rounded, intricate story.
This book throws you more or less directly into an bloody action scene. From what I could read and make out from the synopsis I could pretty much read in the first chapters of the Blood of Ambrose. Directly you have an action scene with the Protector Lord Urdvhen slaughtering the Emperor’s family, and forcing into action a trial-by-combat for Ambrosia Viviana, Morlock’s sister. It is by this trial that Morlock is called in to action and the trial that follows it chockfull of swords and sorcery. I found that this rapid pace in the beginning of the book was both to my pleasure but also produced after this trial a bit of a halt in the book, and it took me some time to get back into the pace of the more sedated story that followed. But nonetheless interesting though, having the story take a more sedated pace and using it to show much more of the surrounding added quite a new level to it. This style was somewhat familiar with “The Wolf Age”, where you had a lot of fighting interchanged by displaying an intricate society and woven story around it. And this style is kept at a constant. So looking at the overall story, the rapid picking up and displaying of what happened did produce a longing feeling for me to finish this book at a go, because on some level I did not know what might happen to our heroes of the story, whether they had the upper hand or that they could easily be defeated.
As for the main protagonist, Morlock, having had the chance to evaluate him a bit more in this story I must say that his personality definitely adds a “whole” feeling to the story. He is pretty much in the lead, knows what he does (even when drunk and killing a golem), but on another take he is also icily calm, reserved and knows when to and how to make a move. I did find that Morlock’s character was changing; going from a somewhat selfish man to a more caring type in the end. After his introduction to save Ambrosia, the story takes several neatly woven turns, focussing not only on Lathmar’s, the boy-king’s part of the story, but also displaying an element of family affairs. All three, Ambrosia, Lathmar and Morlock, are related to each other and it is due to this that the story again takes a very interesting turn. James Enge even goes as far as introducing Merlin into the story of Morlock and Ambrosia and that the forces of evil are actually a lot more powerful than they might seem on a first take. I have already mentioned Lathmar VII but I do want to elaborate on him a bit more… Being the future King of the Two Cities he is truly boyish is his doings, but later he is making tremendous leaps in character growth; an element that I really liked. The story does spans a time flow of a few months and mainly due to Ambrosia’s and Morlock’s influences he is truly a King in the end.
Next to the depth given to the characters in Blood of Ambrose there is also a lot of time invested in showing the different storylines. Coming from many different characters, along the story each character encounters his or her own problems and has to deal with them; and not only for Morlock, Ambrosia and Lathmar but also for the “evil” side of the story like Urdvhen and the poisoner Steng. It is by these explanations and different viewpoints that James Enge adds a level of richness to it, from the hidden stairways in Castle Ambrose to the Dragon that Morlock made and much much more…
The Blood of Ambrose is a truly rich story, incorporating nicely an Arthurian legend theme and showing some nice displays of classic Sword and Sorcery novel with a great main protagonist, but not solely focussing on the heroics of Morlock alone however. Taken on the whole there is a great level of detail towards not only the surrounding but also the intricate character relations of the Ambrosii. This is a book for everyone who favours a well calculated and plotted story.
This Blood of Ambrose book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: Morlock the Maker
Blood of Ambrose
Morlock the Maker #1
In a remote city on the edge of two worlds, where blood has power and water is more precious than freedom, three far-flung friends unite on a quest to save their families. ...
The Wolf Age
Morlock the Maker #3
Have you read Blood of Ambrose?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Blood of Ambrose reader reviews
8.3/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear while the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power ...
Half a King
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it al...
The Faithful and The Fallen
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will...
The Farseer Trilogy
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets,...
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shel...
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly tr...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall...
The Black God's War
Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wa...
Wall of Night
The violence of an age-old war casts a long shadow. It falls on a world where mercy is weakness and conflict is a way of life. Young Malian is being trained to rule. Her pe...
Long ago, the evil God Torak fought a war to obtain an object of immense power - the Orb of Aldur. But Torak was defeated and the Orb reclaimed by Belgarath, the sorcerer. ...
The Emperor's Soul
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skilful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emper...
Hunt for Valamon
When Crown Prince Valamon is impossibly taken from the heart of Algaris Castle, the only clue as to motive or culprit is the use of unknown sorcery. Reclusive cleric Seris ...
Four millennia have passed since the gods came to Myrillia, creating the nine lands of peace as a haven from the nightmarish, accursed Hinterlands. In all this time nothing...
A Trial of Blood and Steel
Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended heroic / sword & sorcery books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring royalty, monarchy and empire
Best of 2016
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly train...
The Pagan Night
Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage betwe...
The Red Heir
Holden R Johnson
Long ago, when the Essence of magic gave Elemor its power, the world saw prosperity, ingenuity, and wonder. Peace can only last so long, however. The darkness always seems to ...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise. Kell - once assumed to be the last surviving Antari -begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once...
Sebastien de Castell
Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead King's dream: Aline is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once...
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine i...
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow...
A Tale of Time City
Diana Wynne Jones
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside ti...
The Guns of Empire
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brillian...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....